Copyright 2009 SWAN SONG

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1 Copyright 2009 SWAN SONG

2 INT. SMOKEY JOE S BAR - NIGHT A small stage is front and center in a dark empty bar. Equipment is set up and an electric guitar is propped up on a guitar stand. WAITERS and STAFF wipe tables and make any necessary preparations for a bustling night to come., 35, sits alone at a small round table, occasionally sipping from his domestic beer bottle. He wears a ragged leather jacket and his hair is pretentiously disheveled. He s heavy in thought. The DOUBLE DOORS open and, 28, appears. She s typical pretty blonde with blue eyes. Jen and Mark look like the personification of night and day. Mark sees Jen. He sits for a brief moment more, wondering if what he sees is actually real. Jen innocuously smiles as she approaches him. Mark slowly gets up and step by step, he goes in to greet an old friend. They exchange a hug. While both are receptive, there is a bit of alienation that resonates from each other. Long time, no see. Hey! Good to see you again. They release from their embrace. Mark pulls a chair out, motioning for Jen to take a seat. She accepts it. As he sits down in his own chair, Mark studies her. You look great. As do you.

3 2. Mark leans forward on his forearms, twiddling his thumbs. Both wait for the other one to make the encounter a little less awkward. No such luck. After a few moments of deafening silence: Listen, Jen. I appreciate you in coming tonight. It means a lot to me. I m happy to come, although I m sad that you re deciding to give it up. Well, I m not getting any younger. But it s been your dream to play music. Mark nods apathetically -- nods of defeat. Yeah. He takes a swig from his beer. (CONT D) Hey. Can I get you something to drink? No, it s quite alright. something later. I ll order He takes another swig, but a more substantial one, like he s filling the void with his beer-drinking prowess. I turned thirty five last week. The conversation turns solemn and dark. Yeah, I know. Happy Belated. She flashes a grin, hoping to rectify the fact that she didn t wish him a Happy Birthday on his actual date.

4 3. Thanks. He slumps back in his chair, with his arm hanging over the corner. He takes a deep sigh. (CONT D) When I was twenty-two, I told myself that when I would make it at twenty-eight-- Mark flops his head sideways as he recounts the empty promises he made to himself. (CONT D) --So, when I turned twenty-eight, I told myself that I have till I turned thirty-two, and then when I turned thirty-two-- Mark takes a deep sigh, wondering where the time had been spent. (CONT D) --I told myself that I have till I turned thirty-five -- no reprieves. He takes a swig from his bottle. (CONT D) --And now, Happy Birthday to me. I m thirty-five and still chasing after a pipe-dream. Oh, Mark. Well, let me ask about you. I see a pretty ring on your finger. She flashes her finger, revealing a brilliant SOLITAIRE. She quickly moves her hand out of sight, afraid to be overly ostentatious. Derrick and I are getting married in four months. Mark raises his beer and drinks.

5 4. (wryly) Mazel Tov. Thanks. Mark nods again, taking all this in. Brutal silence to follow. So, this is my last performance as a wannabe musician. Tonight is my swan song. You sure you want to give it up? You ve worked so hard. I just thought that if I kept going, then something would pan out. Sometimes, that was more of a motivation than doing what I love. It s a hard career path and only the ones who really want it, survive. It depends on how much you want it. Mark nods as if he s heard this many a times before. He smudges his thumbs on the frosted beer bottle, leaving imprints. I love it, but I don t love how I don t make shit and that I have to get a "real" job in order to supplement my income. His brows knit as he s releasing some bitter sentiments. (CONT D) I don t love how shitty musicians, suckier than me, getting rave reviews on the Rolling Stones while I would be lucky just to get a gig at a boy s bar mitzvah. Mark leans forward, elbow propped on the table as his hand cradles his forehead, pushing back his black hair.

6 5. (CONT D) I m thirty-fucking-five. I should established in some regard. A fucking monkey can do my job as a bank teller. Jen reaches forward to comfort him. Hey. Don t beat yourself up. Mark, dejected, doesn t move. Jen. Sure. Can I ask you a question? He holds grabs a hold of her hand. Would you have stayed if I have followed a more...conventional career path? Jen recoils back in her seat. Jen thinks hard on this, choosing her words wisely. I don t know. I think I was at a place where I needed something to change. He looks down and plays with the cardboard coasters that are neatly stacked. He averts his gaze away from her. You didn t like the fact that I was a musician. No, that wasn t it. She inhales deeply, not liking where this is going. (CONT D) I needed something to move and it didn t.

7 6. Like what? I don t know. relationship. a long while. Our It was stagnant for She slouches back in her chair and looks down at the table. Her fingers curl at the edge, while her palm hangs below. (CONT D) Other than music, you didn t have much other aspirations in life. It just seemed like you were just coasting along. I feel like I ve wasted so much time with this fucking music-business. For fifteen years, I ve felt like a fucking loser. Mark, you know you re not. were doing what you love. You I spent a long time loving something that doesn t love me back. He comes to a revelation: (CONT D) Music is really like a bad relationship. You know, the one where you ve been treated badly, but you can t help but love her... unconditionally. From the coasters, he moves onto twirling his, now empty, beer bottle on the table. (CONT D) I m sorry if I ve treated you badly. It s all in the past.

8 7. The Derrick-guy is pretty smart. He s marrying you. Jen blushes from Mark s ever-so-sincere comment, almost making her tear up. Thanks. He really is a lucky guy. Jen changes the subject to avoid the tear-sheds. Are you playing by yourself tonight? Mark s mood seems to lighten up a bit. No, this time I went all out. I hired some people to play with me. I think they re outside taking a smoke. Great! I can t wait to see you perform. Mark looks down at his watch. His eyebrows perk up. Shit! It s almost time! Mark starts to rise. (CONT D) I gotta get the guys. Please get a drink. I ll tell the bar to put it on my tab. He puts his hand over to the side of his mouth. (CONT D) I ll tell them that you re my groupie. He winks at her and leaves. LATER The bar is dark and smoky that a knife can cut through it.

9 8. Crowds of emo-youngsters huddle around the stage, as Mark and his BAND plays. Mark is front and center, playing his electric guitar. They come to an end of a set. CHEERS. The crowd applause and Mark talks into his microphone. (CONT D) Thank you. Thank you. For our last song, we will be performing a new song of mine. Through the blinding spotlight, Mark surveys the crowd until he sees Jen. Jen SMILES. (CONT D) This song is near and dear to my heart. It s about missed opportunities, letting go and moving on. Mark looks back at his crew and nods to them. MUSIC plays. (CONT D) It s called, "Something More." Mark plays his guitar with such ease, like it s all fluid to him. (CONT D) (singing) The time we spent together. Made What could ve been if me wonder. we passed through the stormy weather.. Jen, as along with the others, listen intently to the lyrics. (CONT D) What could I have done? What could I have said? To make you stay? And in my bed? Jen s mouth gapes open, in utter amazement. (CONT D) Now I m alone, stuck in my thoughts. How could I forget the joy that you ve brought?

10 9. Mark gets lost in his song as he sings soulfully. In the crowd, Jen can t keep her eyes off him. For the first time, she truly understands. She sees him at his finest. She s transfixed. FADE OUT.

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